Thursday, September 4, 2008

Maitre d’s, Managers, and Maniacs

When I go out to eat, I now specify to the maitre d’–“I don’t want a table by any groups of males; seat us only near ladies or families.” I get stunned looks and cooperative responses. Those in fact were my exact words this evening at Red Lobster, after which Judy and I waited about ten minutes for a table. During that time, I thought several times how the maitre d’ might have interpreted my request, so I approached her and said, “I hope you will not take offense at my request, but when I dine out and sit near groups of males, I almost always hear cursing, and I won’t tolerate it out of respect for my wife; for that matter, I won’t tolerate it out of respect for myself; it’s culturally and ethically wrong. Moreover, did you know that public profanity is against the law, and always borders on disturbing the peace? The fact is, because restaurant managers don’t manage their environments, I have to manage my own environment.” I was astonished and pleased at her response-

“Sir,” she said, “No one's ever made that request, but after I thought a minute about what you said, I understood exactly what you meant; groups of guys are usually just maniacs.”

I laughed and said, “thanks,” and soon Judy and I were (carefully and purposely) seated at a remote table. During our dinner, the maitre d’ checked our environment several times, I presumed to be sure we were unmolested. That’s just fine with me; I don’t mind the extra attention.

Ironically, during our dinner, a blonde thirty-something talked incessantly the whole time. Because my left ear gets completely clogged about twice a year, as it is now, I am often half deaf; Judy thinks that’s a good thing, especially when we eat out, so that I won’t hear things. She says she doesn’t hear what I hear, and wishes I wouldn’t. But when she hears something amiss–well, you can be sure that it’s really amiss. “What are you looking at?” I asked. “That hyperactive woman,” she said; "she has talked non-stop the whole time.” Indeed, she was talking a blue streak. “Has she said anything meaningful?” I asked. “Not a thing,” Judy replied. We both laughed.

Swimming the current of such superfluous verbosity, I usually think of the Proverbs, “In the multitude of words, there wanteth not folly” and “A fool’s voice is known by a multitude of words.” I must also confess that I usually think of the hilarious vulgarity, “Diarrhea of the mouth is a sure sign of constipation of thought.”

In stark contrast to the verbose blonde, a quiet, reserved, middle-aged lady and gentleman conversed at the table next to her. Despite my auditory debilitation, I caught one remarkable comment from the apparently polished, sweet-natured, and unassuming woman–“I wake up every day with only one goal in mind,” she said, “Who can I annoy today?” I laughed out loud, as did Judy. I asked, “Did she say what I think she said?” Judy replied, “Yes, she did!” I immediately retorted, “I want to meet that lady!”


Kris said...

I always ask them to seat us away from the televisions. It amazes me that restaurants that are trying to maintain a certain ambiance ruin the experience with a flashing tv.

The other thing a try to avoid is being seated near a passageway to the kitchen/back. I have found that waiters will congregate in or around these passageways and talk. I really don't want to hear the problems a waiter is having with another client.....

Hal Brunson said...


Thanks for your input. Right on, brother. The reason flashing televisions and grating music often destroy any possibility of ambiance is because most restaurants are run by people of immature age and intellectual development totally brainwashed(brainpolluted) by a depraved techno-culture. It's difficult to find an affordable place to eat with tolerable environment--try LeMadeline's.